When it comes to elec­tric ve­hi­cles, the govern­ment is think­ing big: 64,000 EVs on New Zealand roads by 2021. It’s a no­ble goal, but it’s go­ing to take more than good in­ten­tions from the govern­ment to achieve it.

Idealog - - IDEALOG / HYUNDAI -

The in­cen­tives, how­ever mod­est, are be­gin­ning to roll out. One cur­rent trial is giv­ing EV driv­ers ac­cess to cer­tain pri­or­ity by­pass lanes on state high­ways in Auck­land; an­other is of­fer­ing road­user charge ex­emp­tions for EV ve­hi­cles; and, last year, the Na­tional govern­ment an­nounced that one-in-three cars in the govern­ment's 15,500 car fleet will be elec­tric by 2021.

Although it’s still well be­hind EV-lead­ing na­tions like Nor­way, it’s a good start. And, more im­por­tantly, it’s not just govern­ment that’s ready for the switch. Cor­po­rate New Zealand is in­creas­ingly in­vest­ing in walk­ing the so­cially-re­spon­si­ble talk. It makes sense: with around 85 per­cent of New Zealand’s energy pro­duc­tion com­ing from clean, re­new­able sources, there are great rea­sons for big busi­ness to look to EVs as the en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly fleet up­grade op­tion.

“The rea­sons for up­grad­ing to EV fleets – and the chal­lenges – vary from com­pany to com­pany,” says Andy Sin­clair, GM of Hyundai New Zealand. “For some, it will de­pend greatly on ex­actly what their usage is. For others, the value it has is from a mar­ket­ing per­spec­tive and the un­der­stand­ing of long-term cost sav­ings against the up-front pur­chase price.”

Sin­clair says that when it comes to EV fleet roll­outs in New Zealand, the elec­tric­ity in­dus­try is part of the ad­vance guard, with all of the ma­jor play­ers in the space proac­tively pur­su­ing brand-friendly EV op­tions.

Pro­cure­ment man­ager at Merid­ian Energy Nick Ro­bil­liard says the energy providers’ first steps into an EV fleet tran­si­tion shows just what’s pos­si­ble for Kiwi cor­po­rates look­ing to do the right thing.

“We looked at it for about a year be­fore we hit go,” he says. “We wanted to be in the game, but in the early days we re­ally had noth­ing that showed it made sense.”

That changed when Ro­bil­liard crunched data from the com­pany’s fleet GPS sys­tem and re­alised the dis­tances be­ing trav­elled by staff were well within the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of cur­rent EVs.

The com­pany pur­chased four Hyundai IONIQs. The PR depart­ment could eas­ily see the ben­e­fits, but the bean coun­ters needed to be con­vinced too.

“In terms of cap­i­tal, we didn't have to do any­thing silly around spend­ing money that we hadn't fore­cast in the bud­get,” says Ro­bil­liard. “It was eq­ui­table with what we would have spent on the re­place­ment of nor­mal com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cles any­way, so I didn't have to go and ask for spe­cial money for it. We had the num­bers, we had the in­ter­est and then we had that fruit.

“It was a qual­ity, safe prod­uct with good range. That made it a re­ally nice fit, even be­fore tak­ing the brand align­ment with Hyundai into con­sid­er­a­tion. I think we largely nailed it.”

And the energy in­dus­try isn’t the only sec­tor recog­nis­ing the brand-value ben­e­fits. The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion has re­cently taken its first steps into EV ter­rain.

“We didn't want to be lead­ing edge, but we def­i­nitely wanted to be tak­ing ad­van­tage of the tech­nol­ogy as part of our own sus­tain­abil­ity push,” says Rex Am­bler, fleet man­ager at DOC.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cused on se­cur­ing com­pany-wide buy-in when up­grad­ing last year, cre­at­ing a be­spoke in­duc­tion ex­er­cise de­signed to fa­mil­iarise staff with the new tech.

“Peo­ple can be ap­pre­hen­sive about new tech­nol­ogy so we de­cided to go through an in­duc­tion process and ac­tu­ally ed­u­cate staff about what we were do­ing,” he says.

Am­bler says the num­ber of charg­ing net­works around New Zealand is grow­ing rapidly, so range isn’t the is­sue peo­ple think it is.

“We’re still learn­ing as we go, but the feed­back we’ve had is that once you've had a lit­tle bit of train­ing and you’ve had a lit­tle time in the driver's seat, it's so sim­ple. We’ve now got staff that are very keen on mak­ing the most of new tech­nol­ogy and mak­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly choices, so it’s been a real suc­cess in that re­spect.”

“For us, the fu­ture is elec­tric,” he says.

It was eq­ui­table with what we would have spent on the re­place­ment of nor­mal com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cles any­way, so I didn't have to go and ask for spe­cial money for i t. We had the num­bers, we had the i nter­est and then we had that fruit. Nick Ro­bil­liard Merid­ian Energy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.